Koh Tao, Thailand, is one of the best spots in the world for snorkeling. Waters are crystal clear and the sea is full of amazing colorful fishes.
For the braver ones out there, a boat tour can be booked to visit Shark bay. Sharks in Koh Tao are small and don’t attack people, so it’s safe enough for tourists who just want to see them from a distance while snorkeling (they are usually close to the bottom of the bay, about 10 meters below the swimmers). We recommend to take the boat tour because, even if you are not lucky enough to see one of these sharks swimming below you, the tour includes multiple bays around Koh Tao that can’t be reached without a boat, and they are really worth seeing.
If you want to explore Koh Tao by land, the best way to do it is by renting a motorcycle. Scooters are available for rental everywhere, and most places don’t even ask you for a driving license. They will keep your passport, though, to force you to pay in case you damage the vehicle, so make sure to check it and take photos of the scooter before leaving (we personally didn’t have any issues, but it’s always good to be cautious). By road you’ll be able to check several beautiful beaches where you can snorkel calmly.
If you don’t want the beaches to be swarmed with tourists, we recommend visiting Koh Tao during the low season (July-August). This island is in the east side of Thailand, not in the ocean, so the strong winds of this season don’t really affect it (unlike the western islands). Snorkeling in the early morning during the low season can be very pleasant. Be careful with the corals in the Koh Tao beaches near the shore, though. The water is not very deep and you can get bruises or cuts in your legs while snorkeling or swimming.
During the boat tours around Koh Tao bays, your guides are likely to throw food around you when you are snorkeling, so the fishes come really close to you. This is incredibly fun and a really unique experience. You can check it out in the video we recorded with our GoPro camera: